Hey, spunky girl.
I love you to bits. You know that, right? The sprinkle of freckles on your nose that you got from me and I got from your Grandpa. The resentful, huffy way you put your glasses on your face. The songs you make up when your baby sister goes to bed.
Baby Lilly, I love you so much
Sometimes you hurt me
and sometimes you cry
and sometimes you’re just ANNOYING,
But you’re my family, so I still love you
more than anybody else
who’s not in my family…
And then there’s the one that you made up a few months ago that you sing almost every night, without pesky hindrances like, say, words that make sense or a fixed key:
The mountains are quiet
the hills are bright
the sun beats powerfully on its little light
So sleep, sleep, little one
Sleep, sleep, little one
sleep, sleep, little one, sleeeeeeeeep.
Seriously, kid. Where do you come up with these? But you sing them with every ounce of earnestness you have which, believe me, is a lot. Every time I try write down the things you say, I have to use caps lock for about half of your words. Because you JUST have SO MUCH to SAY and it’s ALL so VERY IMPORTANT. There’s NOT A THING that comes out of your mouth that you don’t COMPLETELY OWN. You are ALL IN.
That basically sums you up, Katherine. And I adore you. This year, we’ll keep working to make that enthusiastic will of iron work to your advantage, okay? I see benefits already.
A couple weeks ago, it was Mother’s Day. I opted out of church because I’m a big ball of neuroses about this particular holiday and we went to a playground instead. I heard a boy say something truly awful to you:
“Your mom doesn’t even want you. Not really.”
At first, I thought I misheard. Surely he said watch and he was commenting on my parenting (happy Mother’s Day to me), but we talked later and I learned that this isn’t the first time he’s tried to convince you that I don’t care about you.*
You are unfazed. Bless your oppositional little heart. I love this about you. You’re so sure of your place in your mama’s heart that there’s NO WAY this insecure child is going to get into your head or under your skin. I don’t want him saying it to you, and we talked about it for a bit, but I’m floored by how legitimately fine you are. You remind me of your daddy. He knows who he is and he’s not especially bothered much by people who don’t. (It’s not like this is the first time I’ve seen the similarities between you and him.)
I wish I were more like you.
Katherine, you are strong and you are brave and you are generous. (You keep giving your favorite buddies away to your siblings, certain that they’ll be as blessed as you are by your stuffed cheetah. You give gifts that cost you, and I love seeing your heart in this.) You are growing in self-control and wisdom and truth.
You’re a force, little girl. You’re going to change the world.
I know this already and you are only six. (Shoot, I’ve known it since you turned three.)
Use your powers for good, not evil, okay? I know you can. I know you will. And I love you always. You’re growing up just right.
*side note for those following along at home: please don’t get too bent out of shape about this. It’s an awful thing to say, but I know just enough of this kid’s story to believe that he’s just transmitting his own stuff. We choose grace (with boundaries) and I look for a chance to speak life to this boy.